Welcome to the 'New Somerset and Dorset Railway'
Monday, August 15, 2011
stone age or steam age?
One of the main criticisms we get at the New S&D is 'When Peak Oil hits the last thing we'll worry about is running trains'.
(Which of course means 'Why bother?')
Hmmm. This is perhaps a valid view IF you think Peak Oil will result in some sort of return to the Stone Age - which of course appeals to novelists and filmmakers. But why? We didn't have oil when the first railway age was upon us - this country was built on coal and steam. Substitute 'coal' for 'wood' and you'll get an insight into my angle on this.
Of course we won't return to the Stone Age, much as some nihilistic types might want us to. The roads and cars and lorries will vanish of course, domestic electricity may become an occasional thing for those of us that still rely on the grid (or its successor(s)), globalization will go and probably most states will break up into smaller ones, diesels will vanish from the railways (so get out and photograph them now!) but there's no reason for us to go back centuries, just a few decades.
So we'll see steam return on railways that aren't electrified, many new railways and tramways will be built and most of us will probably be engaged in a trade and grow most of our own food. But is this so terrible? And don't forget that everything we've learned over the last 300 years will still be there for us.
Eventually once the trauma of Peak Oil is a folk memory I suspect that we'll start progressing again, using solar power. We may even, eventually, get back out into space. Who knows?
The only real certainty is that, for several centuries, we'll all come to rely on our local railway to bring in goods and to get us out and about!